The National Security Archive at George Washington University deserves much credit for their persistence in extracting the number of injured war veterans from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA). Under the Freedom of Information Act, the VA revealed that one in four veterans have been partially or fully disabled as a result of their combat service in Afghanistan and Iraq. The cost of caring for these veterans has been overlooked. This has led to a shortfall of $3.5 billion in the VA budget last year. This revelation coincided with the release of a new study published in the (highly prestigious) British medical journal, the Lancet. Using standard sampling methodology, it is now estimated that 650,000 Iraqis have died since the U.S. led invasion in March of 2003. Predictably, Bush was dismissive of this high number claiming that General Casey’s estimate of 30,000 was a more reliable number. A number of media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post praised the methodology and high degree of professionalism used by the statistical samplers, researchers at Johns Hopkins Boomberg School of Public Health and Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad.
To add insult to injury, Bush claimed that Iraqis are willing to be maimed or killed in the pursuit of freedom – a freedom where fatalities have resulted in approximately, ‘four 9/11’s every month! Given the U.S. population is about ten times that of Iraq, this is equivalent to about 80,000 U.S. fatalities each month.